Lino Vella, the editor of The Maltese Herald newspaper in Australia, has died aged 85.

He was also a well-known community leader and, in his younger days, a popular footballer.

Vella, born in Paola, was the editor of the Herald for 42 years, having migrated to Australia in 1954.  He was awarded the Australian Medal (AM) by the Federal Government of Australia in January 1999 and Gieħ ir-Republika by the Malta Government in 2011.

Lawrence Dimech, his close colleague and current co-editor of The Voice of the Maltese, the only digital and print magazine for the diaspora, said Vella was an icon who has devoted his life to his beloved Herald and the Melita Eagles FC.

Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo was among those who expressed their condolences. 

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